I admit it: over the break, I re-registered as a Republican. I swear, though, it was for a good cause. I did it in part because I had broken with some of the ideas of libertarianism and instead gravitated toward a Hamiltonian style of republicanism. The other reason I did it was so that I could participate in my first Iowa caucus.
I was really excited about it, at least until I got there and had to sit through the county party’s series of speeches, advertisements and endorsements. After that, it was a quick process of voting by secret ballot and tallying up the victor for each precinct. To be honest, I kind of wish that I was a Democrat. Their caucuses are much more interesting; you get to gather in groups according to which candidate you support, and then people go around and try to browbeat their comrades into switching.
I’m happy to say that the candidate I voted for ended up winning the highly-contested elections; contrary to the original count, Santorum defeated Romney by a margin of about 34 votes.
At any rate, the primary season that marks the beginning of the Presidential election is a big deal in American politics. There are, at least for a while, a plethora of potential candidates to support. Then, beginning with Iowa and its first-in-the-nation caucus, political actors are slowly winnowed from the field.
This Republican primary is especially fascinating. There are four candidates remaining in the field, and all of them are less than ideal. Romney can be as presidential as he wants, but there’s no way that he can avoid being characterized as Obama-lite — a vote for Romney is a vote for Obama, whether it’s a Republican Obama or a Democratic Obama. Then there’s Gingrich … oh, Newt. Basically, the man is pure evil, but I like his policies, so I’ll vote for him if I have to. In my opinion, Santorum is the most promising candidate: he has a set of enduring, consistent principles (at least more so than his competitors) and he’s a real conservative. The problem is, most people don’t want a real conservative, just a fiscal conservative, which gives him some unpopularity. Finally, Paul is still in the race. I mean, we always knew he’d be hanging around, we just never figured that he’d actually have a significant number of delegates or be polling in anything that resembled a competitive range. Paul is very sincere, and he would very sincerely oversee the downfall of our country much more quickly than even a Democratic alternative.
It’s also interesting because, for the first time in a while, there are multiple viable candidates going into the Florida primary. While Romney took that state by a wide margin, there is plenty of room for another comeback by Gingrich or Santorum. For the first time since at least Reagan, and possibly in the history of the primary, a candidate has won in South Carolina without gaining a victory in either of the two previous states, Iowa and New Hampshire, which went to Santorum and Romney, respectively.
So, in the spirit of the election season, I’ll be talking for the next few weeks about the three issues that I believe are most important for the candidates to address in the upcoming general election, at least to garner my vote. The issues are somewhat atypical and unpopular, and many people consider them unimportant. For many people, this election has only one issue: the economy. Similarly, many Republicans care about a single thing in choosing a candidate for President — his ability to defeat Obama.
I’m not most Republicans, though (the establishment hasn’t gotten to me in the month since I’ve registered), so I care far more about following my moral compass than about voting for a candidate that might win an election only to replace the current regime with one that is the same, better, or even much worse.
Here are the issues, in descending order of importance, that I will devote one article each to for the next couple months:
1. It is important that a candidate for the presidency has a strong pro-life stance when it comes to abortion. This is a deal-breaker, in my opinion, as it touches on the most basic of human rights — the right to life.
2. The next President should take our nation’s founding documents seriously. To that extent, he shouldn’t tolerate dictatorial regimes that flagrantly abuse civil rights, and he should work eagerly to bring about their demise. Specifically, North Korea must be handled in a way that puts pressure on the fledgling rule of Kim Jong-un, and it wouldn’t hurt to contest some of the craziness in Iran, either.
3. I didn’t want to talk about the economy, because it’s among the least important issues for me personally, but I would be stupid to overlook the impact that it has had on this country and its citizens. Every serious candidate must be able to take action, or appropriate inaction, in order to help stabilize and revitalize the nation.
I hope that you will proceed through these issues alongside me with an open mind, considering the arguments that I lay out. I know that I’ll be touching on controversial issues, so I’m also looking forward to the potential responses that will be generated, and I’d like to fill The Student with intelligent discourse.
Sure, politics, especially coming from a conservative, may not be your cup of tea, but come on — at least it’s more entertaining than bashing the AAS.